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South Carolina Prisoners' Furlough Eligibility Prior To 1993 Amendment Grand-fathered

South Carolina State Corrections and Parole entities appealed a judgment entitling prisoners within six months of release to participate in a furlough program. The program's eligibility requirements were changed by a 1993 statutory amendment. The court affirmed the judgment.

S.C Code Ann. § 24-13-710 (1989) mandated a furlough program for prisoners that served their mandatory minimum sentence with the exception of certain crimes. § 24-13-710 (1989) authorized program eligibility to prisoners without life sentences and with no disciplinary infractions in a six month period. § 24-13-720 was amended in 1993 to coincide with § 24-13-710's eligibility requirements and only for prisoners without violent crimes. A prior opinion held that the amendment referred to two separate classes of prisoners with different criteria. The circuit court agreed and allowed prisoners who qualified prior to the amendment to participate. The Corrections and Parole entities appealed.

On appeal, the Supreme Court of South Carolina affirmed the ruling. The court held "We find the amendment made material changes from the original statute and thus is a departure from the original statute and not a clarification of it" and hence not indicative of the legislature's original intent. See: Plyler v. Evatt, 313 S.C. 405, 438 S.E.2d 244 (S.C. 1993).

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Related legal case

Plyler v. Evatt